Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has sent a letter to Apple and Google after the companies announced high-definition, 3-D aerial mapping products. Apple’s Flyover displays detailed images of metropolitan areas, while Google will collect 3-D images for its mapping service. Neither company has indicated if aerial drones will be used to collect imagery. Senator Schumer expressed concern about the privacy implications of the new services. He asked the companies to provide advanced notification when the aerial surveillance was to occur, allow individuals to opt-out of having their property displayed, and ensure blurring of individuals and sensitive infrastructure. The full-scope of Apple and Google's aerial surveillance program is not known. In 2010, it was revealed that Google’s "Street View" vehicles were also collecting vast amounts of personal communications from private wi-fi networks. For more information, see EPIC: Investigations of Google Street View and EPIC: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Drones.
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Communications Law and Policy
Jerry Kang and Alan Butler